Saturdays historical season opener at Mercer University went off without a hitch, officials say.
While there were some small hiccups here and there, officials reported no major issues during the football game against Reinhardt University, which Mercer won 40-37, said Jim Cole, Mercer athletics director.
Those small issues included a couple reports of overheating and the removal of one fan for being a little too boisterous, Cole said.
Otherwise, the much-anticipated event -- which drew more than 12,000 fans and several more who attended tailgate parties but did not stay for the game -- went smoothly, officials said.
Everything exceeded our expectations, said Larry Brumley, marketing vice president and chief of staff for the university. When you consider that we had 12,000 people in the stadium ... it went as smoothly as we could have expected.
An official review of Saturdays operations will be conducted, but it seems traffic was not an issue, Cole said. That is partly due to fans arriving very early -- they began staking their tailgating spots as early as 6:30 a.m., he said.
There were six parking spots left after the game began, and while officials had a plan of action in case interstate traffic was backed up, they never had to use it, Cole said.
It got a little hectic around kick-off, but there was not a major flood of people, he said. It was a steady flow all day.
In addition to Mercer police, three dozen officers from the Macon Police Department and Bibb County Sheriffs Office were on hand.
Officers encountered no major problems during the event, a Macon Police Department shift supervisor said Sunday.
Additionally, it seemed several people were shuttled to the game. Several took advantage of the Macon Transit Authority buses, said Chris Floore, public affairs director for the city of Macon.
Yesterday overall was a huge success for Macon, he said Sunday.
An air of excitement engulfed the campus and the downtown area, Cole said. The large number of Mercer fans was a special sight, but perhaps more uplifting was the number of attendees who had no connections to Mercer, he said.
In fact, Cole came across some friends who are big University of Georgia fans, but they wanted to tailgate at Mercer on Saturday and experience the moment, he said.
Seeing all the Middle Georgia people who do not have ties to Mercer was what made it special for me, he said. Thats what football will do for you.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this article. To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.